We Love Holiday Market Featured Artisan, Alison Blair Studio, and Her Continued Design Evolution
Alison Stern of Alison Blair Studio has a passion for growth and experimentation with new techniques in metalsmithing and use of new materials, inspiring one of a kind designs in her ever evolving contemporary and mindfulness collections.
FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?
ABS: My handmade journey began out of practicality. Back in 2001, my husband left his job to start his own business. We were left without his previous health insurance and my son and I had pre-existing conditions that made us ineligible for health insurance. In Colorado, if you owned a business that grossed a certain amount each year, you could qualify for "group of 1" insurance, that would allow my son and I to be covered. And so began Alison Blair Studio jewelry designs. True story.
FF: What led you to your current line of goods?
ABS: I had been doing a lot of very delicate designs and was feeling like I wanted to explore other avenues and move out of my comfort zone. I made a giant step by taking a sabbatical from participating in the New York Now wholesale show, so that I could begin studying other mediums.
I have been taking metal smith classes and am absolutely hooked on the torch! Metalsmithing has opened so many creative doors for me, as I face a whole new set of challenges that I am reveling in.
FF: What materials do you work with and why?
ABS: Lately, I’ve been loving combining different metals, like brass, copper and silver, and using patinas to create interesting unexpected colors. I am also studying form-folding, a metal technique in which a form is cut out, folded, forged, annealed and reshaped. I love form-folding to create one-of-a-kind pendants, earrings, and charms.
FF: Inspiration comes from where?
ABS: My customers often comment on my really pleasing and unusual color combinations. When two colors work, I just know it, intuitively. It was a couple years into my jewelry career before I realized that my combinations were not actually my own. My father was a fine artist who formally studied color for years. At some point I realized that many of my combinations, especially those using purples and browns and ochres, were actually influenced by many of his abstract oil paintings that I grew up around.
FF: What excites you for the future?
ABS: My continued study in different techniques, metals and textures.
FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
ABS: Don't take the rules too seriously. Follow your heart when designing new products. Be open to those pieces that work, and trust when you feel that something falls short.
Shop and visit with Alison Blair Studio at Firefly Handmade Holiday Market, December 10 - 11, 10am - 4pm both days, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St., Boulder, CO. - in our grand HEATED tent next to Trader Joe's!